As stated by a number of scholars, interpreting studies has been discussed as a sub-discipline of the canonical translation studies for decades. However, there are inevitable distinctions between the two domains including the feature of immediacy of the interpreting processes. In actuality, interpreting studies involves a wide range of issues including cognitive processes during interpreting, surrounding social functions and other environmental parameters, various textual elements, assessments as well as pedagogical disciplines and methodologies, which are distinct from those of translation studies. Therefore, it is incumbent upon interpreting scholars to suggest ways to systematically and concretely define and categorize interpreting research areas, before drawing any conclusion about how to relate interpreting studies with translation studies.
Against this background, the current study aims to explore the paths of interpreting studies in Korea. To this end, the notion of paradigm was employed as suggested by Pöchhacker(2004). All the papers published in three major translation and interpreting journals in Korea from 1997 to 2014 were investigated. Out of a total of 1,125 papers, 226 papers were published by Korean scholars on the subject of interpreting. The current author read through the entire collection of the 226 papers and determined the paradigm status of each and every paper, mostly from their research objectives and research settings. From the analysis, it was found that there was a major paradigm shift from 2004 to 2005. Before the shift, 5 paradigms coexisted in the interpreting research field: the interpretive theory of translation paradigm(IT), the cognitive processing paradigm(CP), the target-text-oriented paradigm(TT), the educational paradigm(ED), and the socio-professional paradigm(SP). Among them, ED, IT, and TT were most prevalent, followed by CP and SP. From 2004 to 2005, however, there was a major paradigm shift. The IT paradigm and TT paradigm declined rapidly, with few papers published under those categories, while the SP paradigm came to the fore. At the beginning, most of the papers under the SP category discussed how to establish the profession of interpreter as a significant professional field. Over time, however, the focus was shifted to meta-discourse about the historical trajectories of the profession. Three other paradigms which emerged after the shift, were the dialogic discourse-based paradigm(DI), the neurolinguistic paradigm(NL), and the philosophical- speculative paradigm(PP).